Moondancer: I tried friendship and it's just not for me. Now, if you'll excuse me...
While Twilight Sparkle relaxes in her castle with a book, Spike offhandedly mentions that her being the Princess of Friendship is a bit ironic since she used to have a reputation in Canterlot for being such a bad friend. Twilight suddenly realizes that Spike is right; ever since she moved to Ponyville, she hasn't been back to see any of her old friends, even having forgotten their names. Twilight immediately decides to rectify this by going to Canterlot to see them.
After arriving in Canterlot, Twilight and Spike find their old home exactly as they left it, complete with Spike's gifts for Moondancer and all of Twilight's old books right where she left them. That morning, Twilight manages to find Minuette, who is ecstatic to see Twilight again. She invites Twilight to donuts with Twinkleshine and Lemon Hearts, and the four of them chat. During the conversation, Twilight sincerely apologizes for hurting their feelings by leaving without a word, but the three unicorns laugh it off, saying they didn't take it personally. The four visit their old science lab, where Twilight recalls Moondancer, who was an avid bookworm like Twilight. She suggests visiting Moondancer, but the friends find Moondancer to be an antisocial shut-in who cares only about studying.
At the public library, Twilight attempts to strike up a conversation with Moondancer, who brushes off all of Twilight's attempts until Twilight displays a magical technique that catches her attention. Twilight invites Moondancer to her home's private library and offers her a key that she can use to visit it whenever she wants, on the condition that Moondancer attend dinner with her old friends. With some persuasion, Moondancer eventually agrees, but the dinner is filled with awkward pauses and weary conversation, since Moondancer is wholly uninterested, and she finally leaves in a huff, saying that she tried friendship, and it just wasn't for her. This causes Twilight to remember that she turned down an invitation to Moondancer's party while Twilight was worried about how to stop Nightmare Moon. At the party proper, Moondancer was willing to open up when Minuette, Twinkleshine, and Lemon Hearts arrived, but when she learned Twilight wasn't coming, Moondancer simply slunk away, dejected.
Twilight enlists Pinkie Pie's help to throw Moondancer another party with her old friends, where Moondancer arrives with a chilly reception. Twilight tries to apologize again, but Moondancer angrily brushes her off. Moondancer begins yelling at Twilight that the party she threw was the first time she tried to open up, and Twilight not showing up broke her heart. Moondancer even begins to cry, to which Twilight agrees that Moondancer has every right to be angry, but she shouldn't let it affect her friendships with everypony else. In addition to three of her old friends, some of Moondancer's new friends arrive at her party, causing Moondancer to finally accept Twilight's apology.
The party ends, with Moondancer agreeing to start seeing her friends, old and new, more often. Spike even finally delivers the present he'd wanted to give Moondancer: a picture of the group of friends together. She hangs it up next to her front door and takes a break from her studies to play ball outside with Lemon Hearts, Minuette, and Twinkleshine.
- Accidental Misnaming:
- Twilight has to have Spike remind and correct her about her old friends' names.
- When she finally confronts Moondancer...Moondancer: Look, Twilight Twinkle...
- Adjusting Your Glasses: As a bespectacled unicorn, Moondancer adjusts her slipping glasses with her magic or her hooves.
- Art Shift: Twilight as a book illustration.
- Ascended Extra: Minuette, Twinkleshine, and Lemon Hearts are three Recurring Extras who first appeared in the pilot episode when Twilight snubbed them to focus on the return of Nightmare Moon. Moondancer, meanwhile, was only ever mentioned by name for a couple of scenes but never made an appearance outside some cameos in the comic series before now.
- Audience Surrogate: Moondancer put herself out on a limb when she hosted a party, and Twilight not showing up crushed her and she became more guarded and antisocial than before. Many people can sympathize with how difficult it can be to overcome social awkwardness and put yourself out there and make friends, and how crushing it can be if your efforts fail.
- Batter Up!: While Moondancer doesn't actually take a swing at her old friends with the pinata bat, she does some threatening pointing with it.
- Blush Sticker: Twilight gets a pair of these when she admits to Minuette not remembering about Moondancer's party.
- Brick Joke: Spike's original gift for Moondancer. We knew it has the stuffed bear from the first episode, but when they find it again, he mentions that the bear is only part of it. We see at the end that the rest is a framed photo of Twilight, Moondancer, and the others.
- Minuette, Twinkleshine, and Lemon Hearts are all together for the first time since the very first episode, and this time Twilight makes good on their original offer of friendship. It also shows the consequences of Twilight not going to Moondancer's party, which are far more dramatic to say the least.
- We learn that in addition to the (ruined) teddy bear, Spike had planned to give Moondancer a picture of her circle of friends hanging out.
- The Cameo: Starlight Glimmer is seen during the restaurant dinner scene, nearly hidden behind a menu.
- Cassandra Truth: Minuette mentions that her coworkers didn't believe her when she said that she knew Twilight before she became a princess, so she has Spike take a picture of her with Twilight as proof.
- Cerebus Retcon: The entire episode acts as one for a single scene early in the first episode where Twilight declines an invitation to her friend Moondancer's party so she can focus on Nightmare Moon's return. In that episode, it is just a quick Establishing Character Moment for Twilight's anti-social bookworm tendencies and is never brought up again. Here, Twilight is downright horrified to learn that the party was meant to ease Moondancer into making new friends, and that being blown off so thoughtlessly made her reject friendship altogether just to avoid feeling that kind of humiliation again.
- Class Reunion: The old friends Twilight reconnects with were all her classmates from Celestia's School of Gifted Unicorns.
- Cobweb of Disuse: Twilight's old home and Moondancer's and Minuette's houses all have cobwebs across windows and corners in the ceiling. The one shown in Minuette's house is Downplayed, but is briefly visible from the front door, as is the disarray in her living room.
- Continuity Cavalcade: There are a lot of references to the first episode, in addition to the rest of the series.
- Twilight's old house still has the book on the Elements of Harmony, which even has the same lettering and layout as seen in the first episode. Spike's ruined teddy bear present that was for Moondancer is also still around, and we find out what the rest of it is.
- We meet four of Twilight's Canterlot friends that were seen or mentioned, and the two that don't feature (Lyra and Amethyst Star) have an explanation provided for why they're in Ponyville after showing up in Canterlot in the first episode.
- Joe's donut shop is visited again.
- A flashback to Minuette as a foal shows her with braces as previously shown in "Pinkie Pride".
- Minuette asks Spike to tell the story of Twilight's sleepover. note
- Aside from being seen around Ponyville as a background pony, Pinkie Pie remembers Minuette as one of Cadance's bridesmaids at the wedding.
- The cold open has Twilight mentioning how nice it is to relax after having three big events all in a row.
- The large photo on the castle wall is from Twilight's coronation, with her and the other Mane Six in their respective dresses from that episode.
- The group photo Spike originally meant to give Moondancer features Twilight using a magical aura identical to how it was in season one.
- Continuity Porn: The plot connects a lot of the first season open-ended questions, particularly about Twilight's life just prior to moving to Ponyville, and ties in other details such as Minuette and Lyra being shown around both Canterlot and Ponyville often, or them as Cadance's bridesmares. Much of the episode plays to the first 5-6 minutes of the very first episode, as well.
- Cynicism Catalyst: After Twilight didn't show up to her party, Moondancer gave up on friendship entirely.
- Dispel Magic: Among a few other hints that a unicorn as studious as Moondancer would be good at magic, we see her dispel Twilight's silence bubble with little effort.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: More than a few viewers have noted that Moondancer's reaction to Twilight not showing up to the party is a bit extreme (especially since she had three other ponies there), unless there were deeper feelings involved, like a crush, perhaps.
- Easily Forgiven: Minuette, Twinkleshine, and Lemon Hearts are quick to forgive Twilight for being a bad friend and leaving without a word, saying they were used to her running off to focus on other things. Averted with Moondancer; it takes the whole episode before she accepts Twilight's apology.
- Epic Fail: Just how does a filly get her head stuck in a flask?
- Epiphany Therapy: Moondancer's "The Reason You Suck" Speech doubles as this, leaving her emotionally vulnerable enough to rekindle her old friendships.
- The Eyes Have It: When Twilight uses her spell to enter a book, she manifests as an animated illustration.
- Fancy Dinner: Twilight offers Moondancer the key to her old loft, on the condition that Moondancer has dinner with her old friends. The dinner is at an upscale restaurant and, predictably, there are a lot of awkward pauses in conversation.
- Flashback Effects: The episode uses a few creative ones for the various flashbacks to Twilight's time at Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns.
- Twilight looks through the window of their old school, there is a zoom out, and a scene from the past in the science classroom plays out. It ends with a zoom in on the same window.
- The flashback to the first episode, where Twilight's friends try to invite her to Moondancer's party, uses the classic "screen goes blurry" effect.
- The light of the moon then brighten up a patch of ground where the aforementioned party took place. This one might be more of an Imagine Spot than a flashback, though, since Twilight wasn't present there to remember it.
- Flashback with the Other Darrin: Averted; though Twinkleshine is now officially voiced by Tabitha St. Germain, the flashback to the first episode keeps Nicole Oliver's performance.
- Foil: Moondancer was just as socially awkward as Twilight was at the start of the series, but while the events of the Summer Sun celebration prompted Twilight to come out of her shell and become more social, Moondancer was devastated by Twilight not showing up to the party and withdrew even more.
- Foreshadowing: This would not be the only time in this season that Twilight had to confront a very emotionally hurt unicorn and have her get over the past.
- Forgiveness: The episode focuses on Twilight Sparkle trying to earn this from Moondancer for abandoning her at the start of the series, succeeding by episode's end.
- Funny Background Event:
- Some ponies in the foreground exchange confused glances when Moondancer starts talking to her book after Twilight pops up inside it.
- While Twilight is trying to apologize to Minuette, Lemon Hearts and Twinkleshine over donuts, Spike is having a spirited conversation with Joe.
- When Twilight first teleports out of the restaurant to chase after Moondancer, a couple ponies rear up in surprise at her appearance.
- Lemon Hearts is none-too-pleased at Minuette bringing up the time her head got stuck in a beaker.
- Furry Reminder: During the flashback of the science class Twilight and her classmates had, Twilight and Moondancer were discussing the proper method to make salt licks.
- Heli-Critter: Pinkie Pie briefly hovers using her tail in this fashion.
- Help, I'm Stuck!: As a filly, Lemon Hearts got her head stuck inside a flask and it is shown in a flashback.
- Heroic BSoD: Twilight gains one briefly at the cafe upon realizing that she was the reason why Moondancer became such a closed-off hermit.
- Hope Spot: Twilight's reunion with Minuette, Lemon Hearts and Twinkleshine goes swimmingly, and they weren't hurt at all by Twilight's previous indifference towards them. The whole endeavor is looking good... until she gets a very different reaction from Moondancer.
- I Can't Hear You: Twilight trying to strike up a conversation with Moondancer in the library elicits a number of "Shhhs!", and Twilight attempts to use a bubble of silence to prevent disrupting the other patrons. By the last of these, when Twilight appears in her book, Moondancer's brief bit of shock and surprise brings out a number of glares her way.
- Incredibly Lame Fun: The first book Moondancer finds in the Trail of Bread Crumbs is A Brief History of the Wagon Harness. She thinks it's no less exciting than any other title.
- Innocently Insensitive: Spike is clear to say he was only trying to make a point on how far Twilight has come from the poor excuse of a friend she used to be, but it only ends up making her feel awful for old friends.
- Ironic Echo: Moondancer almost directly quotes Twilight from the pilot episode on two occasions:Moondancer: I just want to be alone so I can study without some crazy pony trying to make friends, alright?
- Jabba Table Manners: Spike ends up with food all over his face and bib at the group's dinner.
- Jumping Out of a Cake: This is how Pinkie Pie introduces herself to Moondancer at the party.
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Moondancer gives her study list as "magic, science, history, economics, pottery."
- Loners Are Freaks: Moondancer has no life outside of her studies, and everypony in Canterlot ignores her because of this.Spike: Come on, Twilight! We've been watching her for three days. Library, house. Library, house. That's it!
Twilight: Nopony looks at her or says hello, or even gives her a smile! It's like she doesn't even exist.
- Loony Fan: Minuette comes across as this at first, but only as far as wanting to get her picture taken with Twilight. Mostly, she's just really happy to see her old friend again.
- Making a Spectacle of Yourself: While shadowing Moondancer, Minuette and Twilight wear funny glasses as a Paper-Thin Disguise. Twilight's are orange Celestia mirror shades, while Minuette's are shutter shades with a coconut palm and a macaw at the temples.
- Meaningful Background Event: Starlight Glimmer can be seen sitting in the same diner as Twilight and her friends.
- Mess of Woe: The house that Moondancer moved into after Twilight left for Ponyville has fallen into disrepair, and what we see of her living room is a shambles.Minuette: I think this is the place. Didn't use to look like this, though.
- Mundane Utility: Twilight's spell that allows her to enter books? She uses it to study more efficiently.
- Must Make Amends: Here Twilight remembers how insensitive she was before she moved to Ponyville, and now she sees an opportunity to make up for it.
- My God, What Have I Done?: What kicks off the episode when Spike makes a comment on how anti-social Twilight was before coming to Ponyville and never trying to make friends in Cantorlot making her realize this and try to reconnect with her original friends. Twilight gets it again later upon finding out Moondancer became the way she was due to her blowing off a party just as Moondancer was starting to open up to everypony.
- My Greatest Second Chance: Twilight deeply regrets the way she left her old friends, especially Moondancer, who Twilight learns became a reclusive shut-in after Twilight failed to come to her party. The moment this dawns on her, she decides to go out and fix things between them.
- Mythology Gag: Moondancer refers to Twilight as "Twilight Twinkle", a member of the G3 My Little Pony cast that influenced Twilight's design. That was even Twilight Sparkle's name on early scripts for the show.
- Nerd Glasses: Moondancer wears a pair of glasses repaired with tape.
- Never Recycle a Building: The tower that Twilight used as her personal library in the very first episode has not been cleaned or maintained ever since she left it to move to Ponyville.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Moondancer becoming bitter and withdrawn is all thanks to Twilight, her closest thing to a best friend, snubbing her at her party and moving to Ponyville without so much as a goodbye, especially at a time when she was finally willing to open up to others.
- Offscreen Crash: Shortly after Pinkie Pie flies off the frame with her helicopter tail, we hear some crashing sounds.
- Offscreen Inertia: Everyone assumed that Twilight would have packed up her books and other belongings from her Canterlot Tower and moved them to Ponyville once she herself moved there. This episode shows that apparently she didn't do this.
- Oh, Crap!: The look on Twilight's face after the flashback of her denying the invitation to Moondancer's party.
- Once More, with Clarity!: The small scene with Minuette, Twinkleshine, and Lemon Hearts inviting unicorn Twilight out was for Moondancer's party.
- One Degree of Separation: Most of Twilight's Canterlot friends keep in touch with each other and often visit Ponyville since Lyra Heartstrings moved there. Minuette and Pinkie Pie also know each other since Minuette was a bridesmaid at Cadance's wedding.
- Palette Swap:
- Lemon Hearts and Twinkleshine use the exact same model, with their coloration and cutie marks being the only visual differences. Justified in that the early seasons of the show used a database of background characters that were mostly palette swaps. Lemon Hearts and Twinkleshine were no different. Minuette and Lyra Heartstrings also share a model save coloring and cutie marks.
- Moondancer is similarly a glasses-wearing recolor of Twilight when she was still a unicorn, though it's not as obvious until the flashbacks of the science lab and the first party where Twilight didn't show up, and later in the picture Spike gives her. This was deliberate in her case.
- Percussive Therapy: Twilight attempts to Invoke this with the pinata at the party by giving Moondancer the bat to swing at it. Moondancer hits the pinata once, but then brandishes the bat at her old friends while giving Twilight a vicious verbal beat-down. Fortunately, it still leads to an emotional breakthrough.
- The Pollyanna: Whether a friend is getting her head stuck in a beaker or slamming a door in her face, Minuette manages to put a positive, happy spin on the situation.Twilight: Moondancer?
Moondancer: What do you want? I'm trying to study.
Twilight: It's us! Your old friends!
[Moondancer groans and slams door]
Minuette: [chuckling cheerfully] That's old Moondancer all right! She always did like her books. [to Twilight] Hey, kinda like you used to be, huh?
- Portal Book: Twilight uses a spell that allows her to enter Moondancer's book and talk with her. It is Moondancer's fascination with learning this spell that allows Twilight to help Moondancer open up to friendship.
- Pun-Based Title: The episode title is a pun on Twilight's motivation of Must Make Amends and "mending fences", a common term for patching up damaged friendships.
- Reality Ensues: While Lemon Hearts, Twinkleshine, and Minuette all knew Twilight wasn't that interested in friendship and forgave her easily, the similarly reclusive Moondancer, who thought of Twilight as a close friend, was hurt by her insensitive actions and Twilight spends most of the episode trying to make up for it.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After Twilight tries to make up for snubbing Moondancer at her party by throwing another one, Moondancer launches a vicious tirade against Twilight for crushing her self-esteem with that one, thoughtless act. She even breaks down in tears halfway through while angrily screaming at her.Twilight: Please, you've got to let me make this up to you!
Moondancer: And you think this is gonna do it, huh?
Twilight: Uh... yes?
Moondancer: Well sure, why wouldn't it? That was only the first time I put myself out there, and then you didn't even bother to show up! Then you left town without saying goodbye, even though we were supposed to be friends! (tearing up) I was humiliated! I felt like I wasn't important! I never wanted to let myself be hurt like that again! [points to Minuette, Twinkleshine, and Lemon Hearts] Those three finally convinced me that I had value, that other ponies might like me and want to be my friend, and you! Didn't! Show! UP!!! AAAGH! [breaks down crying]
- Retcon: "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" and Sunset Shimmer's origin story in the comics depict Moondancer, Lyra, Minuette, Twinkleshine, and Lemon Hearts at near present age when they appear while Twilight was still a filly; this episode undoes the age gap. The comics also had Moondancer similar to Fluttershy in mane-style and personality; here, she's these to Twilight. However, the flashback in season one depicts those characters as earth ponies rather than unicorns.
- Safety in Indifference: Moondancer had chosen this over friendship because Twilight didn't show at her last party.Moondancer: I gave friendship a chance a long time ago. It didn't work out then; it isn't gonna work out now.
- Sarcasm Mode: Spike is thick with the sarcasm once he sees that Minuette is positively giddy reuniting with Twilight, after all of Twilight's moaning about abandoning them:Twilight: This is perfect, I can apologize to all three of them at once!
Spike: Let's hope they aren't as traumatized as Minuette.
- Schizo Tech: Minuette owns what looks like an SLR camera with an electronic autofocus and flash (complete with capacitor whine as it charges).
- Sequel Episode: To the first episode of the show. Specifically, the first three minutes.
- Seriously Scruffy: Moondancer's dumpy turtleneck sweater, broken horn-rimmed glasses, Big Ol' Eyebrows, and unkempt mane and tail all show that she is too focused on her studies to groom herself.
- Shadow Archetype: Moondancer starts the episode as who Twilight would have become if she had shut everybody out, doing nothing but studying. To emphasize the point, flashbacks show that Moondancer used to be a Palette Swap of Twilight and also uses Twilight's original magic aura from the early seasons of the show.
- Haycart and his Treatise on Ponies is a reference to Descartes' Treatise on Man.
- The scene of Pinkie Pie riding Twilight as she plummets towards the library tower resembles the famous scene of Major Kong Riding the Bomb in Dr. Strangelove.
- The bookseller Twilight invites to Moondancer's party appears to be a ponified Honey Lemon (complete with beehive cutie mark).
- Twilight tries to have a private conversation with Moondancer by using a bubble of silence.
- She also tries talking to her from inside a book.
- Sigil Spam: The façade of Minuette's row house is covered with hourglass shapes, including the window and door frames.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Moondancer's name is listed as one word in the credits, but the captions list her name as "Moon Dancer".
- Spit Take: Discussed. According to Minuette, Twinkleshine spat out her oats when she learned Twilight Sparkle had become the Princess of Friendship.
- Stealth Pun:
- When Twilight erects a magical "bubble of silence" to try to catch up with Moondancer at the library, Moondancer literally burst her bubble.
- The Descartes Shout-Out. There's a common pun about putting Descartes before the horse — similar to the Dutch proverb "het paard achter de wagen spannen" (putting the horse behind the cart).
- In the science lab flashback, Twilight corrects Moondancer on the use of sodium chloride. One could say this was rubbing salt into the wound.
- Twilight left a trail of books to lure Moondancer to the party. In other words, a paper trail.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Like Moondancer, her unnamed sister has messy red hair with a Skunk Stripe and Big Ol' Eyebrows. It makes you wonder if Tree Hugger is related to them.
- That Makes Me Feel Angry: In a flashback, filly Moondancer says "That's so hilarious..." in the most deadpan tone possible.
- Those Two Guys: Lemon Hearts and Twinkleshine don't have much personality compared to Minuette.
- Trail of Bread Crumbs: Moondancer follows a trail of books that leads her to the party Twilight and Pinkie set up.
- Villains Out Shopping: Starlight Glimmer can be spotted in a corner of the restaurant.
- Wasn't That Fun?: Pinkie Pie's reaction to flying on Twilight's back and them ending up crashing into the ground (and before that, into Minuette)?Pinkie Pie: That was AWESOME! We gotta do this more often, Twilight.
- We Used to Be Friends: Twilight and Moondancer used to get along well enough despite their social awkwardness, but after Twilight brushed off her party to focus on her studies, and then left Canterlot without trying to make it up to her, Moondancer broke off all connection with her and everyone else who tried to befriend her. In the end, though, the two manage to patch things up.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: After Moondancer's accusation, Twilight responds by convincing her that what she did shouldn't stop Moondancer from making friends, with Minuette reassuring her she still has some.Twilight: You're right, this party can't make up for the way I hurt you, but please, don't let my mistake be the reason you can't make friends with anypony else!
Minuette: We were your friends then, and we'd be honored to be your friends now.
Moondancer: [noticing more ponies that showed up to the party] What? That's the librarian! The bookseller! My sister!
Minuette: You've got a lot of friends, Moondancer.
Twilight: I'm sorry, Moondancer. I've faced magical creatures, the end of Equestria, all sorts of things! But seeing how my actions affected you, that was one of the worst feelings I've ever had.
- You Just Had to Say It: Spike says, "Me and my big mouth" when he reminds Twilight of the bad friend she used to be before they moved to Ponyville, which gets him wrapped up in her frantic attempts to rekindle her old friendships. However, Twilight is grateful that he did.Spike: It's not too late to forget I opened my big mouth.
Twilight: No, Spike. I'm glad you opened your big mouth.